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J&J-Achillion partner to develop hep C drugs

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Johnson & Johnson is expanding its reach in the lucrative hepatitis C drug market after announcing it will collaborate with Achillion Pharmaceuticals to develop its HCV drugs.

Johnson & Johnson is expanding its reach in the lucrative hepatitis C drug market after announcing it will collaborate with Achillion Pharmaceuticals to develop its HCV drugs.

Achillion will be entitled to receive an upfront payment of $225 million from J&J in exchange for granting the development and marketing rights for its experimental drugs aimed at treating hepatitis C, ACH-3102 and sovaprevir, currently in phase 2 stage of trials, as well as ACH-3422, which is in early stage trials.

Related: Hep C, cancer drugs make up bigger percentage of Rx costs

"A key objective of the collaboration will be to develop a short-duration, highly effective, pan-genotypic, oral regimen for the treatment of HCV,” according to a J&J statement. "An initial regimen that will be explored will feature Achillion's ACH-3102, a second-generation NS5A inhibitor currently in Phase 2 clinical studies that has been granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in combination with an NS3/4A HCV protease inhibitor plus an NS5B HCV polymerase inhibitor from the collaboration.”

Achillion’s ACH-3102 holds strong potential to initiate a second wave of hepatitis C drugs by reducing the treatment time of liver disease to the minimum, according to Bidness.

“ACH-3102, in addition to its fast track designation granted by US FDA last week, has established a significant breakthrough reduction in HCV treatment duration, as well a strong efficacy rate. As per the interim results of a phase II study revealed in February this year, ACH-3102, when used in combination with Gilead's Sovaldi, proved to achieve a 100% cure rate,” the article stated.

Related: States blame hep C cases for increased opioid abuse

“In addition to the already achieved breakthrough success, Achillion is planning to reduce the HCV treatment time further to the unimaginable four weeks only; the company has various trials in process for its investigational HCV regimens to achieve this goal,” Bidness stated.

Read next: AbbVie hopes to advance HCV treatment for genotype 4

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